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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Odds & Ends not in my book, Part 2

Since I got so much positive feedback about last Sunday's blog, I thought I'd continue with the trend, using these bits and pieces for fun filler.

My father worked with Jerry Lewis for many years. Back in the Dark Ages (the early 1950s), Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis starred in a variety show called the Colgate Comedy Hour. Jerry was fresh and young and hadn't developed into an egotistical monster yet, and he and Dean were perfect together. 

Slice of nostalgia for you:

My mother once told me that back then, Jerry was so hysterically funny (and dirty) in person, she'd laugh until her ribs and stomach ached hours afterward. But cut to the 1960s, when Dad was working on Jerry's solo show, and things weren't so much fun anymore. I have vague memories of my father coming home from work, slamming things around and uttering things I won't repeat. To say he didn't like Jerry Lewis was an epic understatement.

He wasn't alone, of course. I once spoke with a woman who was doing a program on Jerry; she was calling my dad's apartment and I happened to be there, going through his things. I told her my father had passed away, and she asked me if I knew how he'd felt about Jerry Lewis. She said, and I quote: "People tend to feel one of two ways about him -- they either think he walks on water, or they want to hold him under water." I laughed and assured her that my father belonged in the latter category.

Anyway... while going through a chest of drawers, I found a fun little souvenir. (A few of you who know me in person have seen this; most of you have not. And I apologize in advance for the dreadful picture quality.) It was a cigarette lighter, with a caricature of Jerry Lewis plus his signature on the front.

(My thumb is over the top of it for a reason.) I turned it over, and saw that Jerry had taken something sharp and scratched the date and a message:

The date was "12/8/67." The message is a little weird -- personally, "To Eddie, love, Jerry" would have made more sense. (Always a proofreader, that's me.)

But let's go back to the front of the lighter. Apparently, after receiving this gift, my father scratched in a little message of his own.

Did I mention my father didn't like Jerry Lewis? :-D (He did like Dean, though.)

I still can't look at this thing without cracking up. Ah, Dad, I miss you.

And speaking of my book, I'd like to give Hermione a huge THANK YOU for this.

Happy Hump Day!


  1. Hi Erica, What your dad wrote on the lighter was so funny hehehe LOL :-)I Love reading your odds and ends that are not in your book cause its VERY interesting.Happy Hump Day to you too.Love and hugs from your naughty girl Jade XOXO

  2. I've never commented on your blog before, but I am a recent follower and I just wanted to tell you that you're a great story teller!


  3. Jade -- glad you liked it.

    Kitty -- thank you! :-)

    Dana -- right?

  4. Terrific story Erica. Thanks. I liked Dean better than Jerry.

  5. joey -- thanks; I did too. I met Jerry, but not Dean. Wish it had been the other way around!

  6. What a cool memento!

  7. Anonymous -- isn't it, though?

  8. Hi Erica

    I do like both of them a lot. I never met either but I did see Jerry Live in Damn Yankees and I think I will treasure that memory for the rest of my life. On a different topic I sent a copy of your book to my sister and she compared your writing to David Sedaris. Since I have enjoyed his writing a lot I think that this is a good review.


  9. Emanuele -- I love Damn Yankees. Never saw the play, though, just the movie. David Sedaris, really? That's quite a compliment. :-)

    Lea -- can you imagine how hard I laughed when I first found it?

  10. I never liked Jerry Lewis but what a keepsake. Thanks Erica. Hope you share more with us.


  11. We all thought we were a bit odd because of our interest in spanking.
    I thought I was odd because I did not like Jerry.

  12. I remember the Colgate Comedy Hour - just barely. I never liked Jerry in later years. There was something deeply creepy about those Labor Day marathons.

    I hope my post sent some new shoppers to Amazon for your excellent book.


  13. THAT is hilarious!!!

    What an interesting and unique piece of history you have in your possession!


  14. Ronnie -- he was an acquired taste, to be sure! But brilliant in his way, before his ego got bigger than his talent.

    OBB -- well, that's another reason why I'm odd too, then. :-)

    Hermione -- a few years ago, I bought a DVD of the CCH; that was the first time I ever saw it. Quite a different era.

    Sarah -- my father was never one to mince words. Like father, like daughter. :-D

  15. I remember seeing an episode of Jerry's show and he kept putting his head on one of the lady guests he had. He was actually looking down her dress and had his nose in her breasts. It was really so inappropriate. I am saying that mildly. It was about that time that they desided to cancel the show, I think. It wasn't on to long after that.

    I thought Dean had a great voice and I liked some of the roasts he did. I also liked his variety show because you never quite knew what he was going to do and it was funny in a decent way.

    Love your stories.

  16. Bobbie Jo -- Dean's roasts made me laugh myself practically sick. They were plenty suggestive, but not filthy. The ones they do now on Comedy Central are over the top nasty, IMO.

  17. Ha. Your dad sounds amazing. Funny that he chose to add his comment rather than throw the thing away. (So glad he didn't!)



  18. Pink -- well, you know, he was a chain-smoker back then, and it WAS a perfectly good cigarette lighter. :-D I have a feeling adding that comment made it tolerable for him to look upon Jerry's visage every time he used it.

  19. Erica, I liked both Dean and Jerry. Dean because he could croon, a good tune. And Jerry for his 'shtics' you might say. Plus he did good work for his annual Labour Day Charity work. Muscular Dystrophy.

  20. six -- yes, he did a lot for them, I'll give him that.

  21. Well, you KNOW I love this story and that lighter!

  22. Erica the vid of and Sarah on her site is fun ,best ,tim